How to Create and Grow a Waitlist

Everyone knows clients are important for the health of your business. Clients are what help your business stay afloat and profitable, along with good business sense. Especially as a VA (or if you’re in another line of work and have found yourself here), knowing when you’re full with clients is key. So... what happens when you’re full, and you want to still be growing your business?

Enter… the waitlist.

A waitlist is what keeps your client prospects warm (read: cozy, remembering you, and hungry for work with you specifically). It makes you stick out, over and over in their brains, so that every single time they think “I really need someone who’s a stellar VA…” it becomes second nature to put your face in their head. It’s great marketing, and it’s an easy way to keep your prospects engaged.

Not too long ago I had to fire a client, and that left one open space in my workflow. Normally I’m booked out about a year in advance. I had a waitlist going, and as soon as I knew I was going to let a client go, I reached out to the prospects on my waitlist, letting them know I had a space opening up.

Literally every single person on my waitlist emailed me back, wanting the space. I interviewed all of them that were ready, and have filled the spot with a wonderful client! This new client actually said to me, “I love your emails for your waitlist. I knew about Asana, and your workflow, and delegating because of them. What an awesome system you have!”

Seriously. It was music to my ears.

Wait lists are important -- but growing them is different than just having one on your site. You need to promote it like you promote your work. Promote it like you promote your business. Make it something that is prominently featured on your website. Keep it visible, and make your waitlist the ONLY way people can get to your work. (Don’t take clients from twitter, or from your pool of friends…. Honor your waitlist by giving them first dibs!)

Here’s an example structure for your waitlist automation/sequencing:

  1. Send a confirmation email praising them for joining your list! Affirm them. Make them know they made the right choice.

  2. Send them an email the next day introducing yourself again and making sure they have some extra details about you. Do you really love elephants? Where are you based? Do you co-work out of an office? These are all important things to share, and they help you become a real person behind the emails. (You are real, aren’t you?!)

  3. Two days later, send them information that makes your working relationship better together. Teach them how to do something. For me, that’s a free copy of my hour-long delegation training. It’s a video they can watch, get familiar with my system, and learn how to delegate. That makes both of our lives so much easier.

  4. Five days after that, send them something else that can help your work together, but not as intense as before. (So not another training or big deliverable. We don’t want them overwhelmed.) Send them something that can help them in a tangible way. For me, this is teaching them how to use Asana, which is the project software that I use to run my entire life, as well as all of my clients’ lives.

  5. Three days after, send another email asking them how things are going, what questions they have for you, and introduce your social content. People on your waitlist will want to see how your life unfolds outside of business. Encourage them to follow you on Twitter or Instagram -- usually the most two public social platforms. This gives them color inside the lines of your life, and lets them see who you are, and how you work.

  6. Follow up every two weeks with an email. This can be the same email that you send to your regular email list with people who are staying up to date with your business, without being waitlist members.

With promotion, exclusive content, and the ability to message your waitlist regularly, you’ll have a healthy group of prospects! Get in touch with them every two weeks or so, after your initial sequence.

If you’re curious, I use ConvertKit (affiliate link) to run my lists -- my waitlist and my main email list -- because they’re incredibly easy to use, with robust software. I literally set the sequence and forget it. It does all the work. I have clients that use ConvertKit too, and everyone is in a state of email bliss.

Whether you are booked solid with clients, or just starting, thinking about a waitlist is important. There’s nothing worse than turning a good client away. A waitlist makes it so that you don’t have to.